Soap opera writer Betty Kahlman (Elizabeth Lawrence, Augusta Dabney) raised her adopted children without a husband, elements similar to Irna's own life. Betty then married Russell Barry (William Prince) and the early focus was on generational conflicts between a newly married middle-aged couple and their confused children. People tried to understand each other but were ultimately "a world apart", echoing the title. Eventually the show-within-a-show element was scaled back (and Katherine Phillips was replaced by Richard Holland and Suzanne Holland) and Betty and Russell settled into a tranquil marriage.
Other storylines centered around the Sims family, who were mired in less turmoil than the Kahlmans but still had their problems, as Dr. Ed Sims (James Noble) and his extremely conservative wife Adrian (Kathleen Maguire) struggled with their rebellious daughter Becky (Erin Connor).